Teams unhappy with 2003 calendar

In recent weeks a number of team principals have expressed their dissatisfaction with the provisional calendar published by the FIA after its most recent World Motor Sport Council meeting. The 17-race list of dates runs from March to October without a break and there is no week off in August. Team bosses say that it is difficult to keep staff because of the pressures of the constant travel and complain that the calendar is produced by people who do not go to all the races and so do not understand the pressures that are created. This is a fair comment as Bernie Ecclestone is nowadays a rare visitor to the non-European events.

Ecclestone says that the problem has been caused because of an agreement with Monaco which means that the race is now fixed to a specific date each year. Originally the idea of having 17 races was considered to be the result of "exceptional circumstances" but this rule appears to have now been forgotten about. The calendar has yet to be confirmed but that is expected to happen at the next World Council in September. At the moment, however, there appears to be little choice if all the current dates remain unchanged.

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